Belief in a caring God
antidote to depression
Article Page | Personality
Belief in a caring God can act as an
antidote to depression, says a new study.
Rush University Medical Centre (RUMC) researchers surveyed 136 adults diagnosed
with major depression or bipolar depression at inpatient and outpatient
psychiatric care facilities.
'In our study, the positive response to medication had little to do with the
feeling of hope that typically accompanies spiritual belief,' said Patricia
Murphy, chaplain at Rush and an assistant professor of religion, health and
human values at Rush University.
'It was tied specifically to the belief that a Supreme Being cared,' added
Murphy, who led the study.
Patients were surveyed shortly after admission for treatment and eight weeks
later with standard instruments in social sciences for assessing intensity,
severity and depth of disease and feelings of hopelessness and spiritual
Response to medication, defined as a 50 percent reduction in symptoms, can vary
in psychiatric patients.
Some may not respond at all. But the study found that those with strong beliefs
in a personal and concerned God were more likely to experience an improvement.
Specifically, participants who scored in the top third of the Religious
Well-Being Scale were 75 percent more likely to get better with medical
treatment for clinical depression.
Researchers tested whether the explanation for the improved response was linked
instead to the feeling of hope, which is typically a feature of religious
belief, said a Rush University release.
But degree of hopefulness, measured by feelings and expectations for the future
and degree of motivation, did not predict whether a patient fared better on
'For people diagnosed with clinical depression, medication certainly plays an
important role in reducing symptoms,' Murphy said.
These findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
( Courtesy IANS)